Last month Newsweek released a double issue with the cover story, The 100 Most Powerful Digital Disruptors (7/2/127/9/12, pp. 2233). The 100 individuals were grouped within 10 categories such as opinionists, revolutionaries, innovators, and visionaries. One category was angels, with the tagline, techs top talent scouts have an uncanny ability to pick winners (p. 30). Newsweek did an excellent job identifying these prescient investors.
First place among angels went to Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator. Graham is an expert on tech investment. His sharp eye for quality entrepreneurial projects has served him well. Y Combinator is his seed capital firm that spreads investment money around to various companies with promising futures.
Reid Hoffman was given third place as the cofounder of LinkedIn. Rather than just being in charge of a social network, which is quite an undertaking on its own, Hoffman looks for promising social-network investment opportunities. He was one of the earliest investors in Facebook. Not a bad pick, eh?
Number five on the roster was Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessens early tech involvement coupled with his excellent investment choices have definitely kept him in the game:
He launched the 1993 Internet era with his Mosaic browser. His three-year old venture fund has had a golden run with bets on Skype, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (p. 30)
In this top ten angels section, Newsweek included a sidebar awarding Lifetime status instead of rank to Sandy Robertson as cofounder of Francisco Partners. Among his various successful picks are Pixar and E*Trade. Robertson is considered to be one of the principal architects of the California tech boom (p. 30).
Here are the other names and their ranks: Ron Conway, investor with SV Angel (2); Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz (4); Peter Thiel, managing partner of Founders Fund (6); Doug Leone, partner of Sequoia Capital (7); Josh Kopelman, managing director of First Round Capital (8); Andy Bechtolsheim, cofounder of HighBAR Ventures (9); Jim Breyer, partner of Accel Partners (10).
Entrepreneurs, especially in the modern online arena, are amazing and brave people. Nevertheless, even they can sometimes use a cash infusion at strategic moments. My guess is more than once they have been known to declare, Thank God for angels!
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